I once heard college described as Childhood 2.0.
I’m not sure how legitimate that claim is, but I guess I can see where they’re coming from: frolicking around campus, more or less doing what you want, jumping in fountains, and eating way too many sweets in the dining halls . . . it all certainly qualifies as living a childlike life. Ignore the mind-numbing workload, crazy schedules, and angsting over the future, and, yeah, we’re all virtual 4-year olds again.
Unfortunately, it’s way too easy at Stanford to be . . . let’s say, too much of an adult. To be so focused and serious that you forget how great it is to throw paint at each other, watch an animated movie, or just to be randomly absurd. I’ve seen it happen: people who become so deeply immersed in their academic careers that they forget what it means to be spontaneous and carefree. Not that we don’t want or need to study – we do. Don’t we know it. But I think there is just as much value in running and jumping in puddles as there is in scoring well on a chemistry midterm. There’s something, I don’t know, a little sad about studying for hours in the library when the sun is doing its best to outshine the world outside.
I personally make an effort to remember my inner-child as often as I can. That could mean anything from watching “Anastasia” on my laptop one night to simply drinking out of a juice box for fun. It doesn’t have to be a big, time-consuming effort on your part, just a small reminder of simpler and happier times. Trust me, having those little reminders will do wonders for your mental well-being.
So tonight, find and watch your favorite Disney movie. Bake a cake for no good reason. Pick flowers, if you can find some. Splatter-paint something! Just rediscover the ridiculous fun you used to have.